Vamsy's versatility has come through his films and short stories as well.
While unveiling the characters in his short stories, Vamsy asks us to love even those characters that have shades of negativism in order to understand their psyche better and bring them to terms with reality. What makes his writing special is that most of the characters are realistic, some of them drawn from his own experiences. Besides his graphic, detailed description of the setting of the story without missing out on even minute details of the Godavari belt where he was born and brought up, his vivid portrayal of characters, their behaviour and their raw emotions are all captured candidly. Be it his Maa Pasalapudi Kathalu, Diguva Godavari Kathalu or the collection of short stories, Aku Pachani Gnapakam give readers the impression of images floating before his eyes. Such is his mastery in story telling. Of course, Bapu's illustrations only enriched them.
Does this visual quality help him as a filmmaker? “ Much before all these stories happened, certain necessities of life led me to film field,” says the enigmatic writer who is better known as an award winning filmmaker.
Nallamilli Vamsy was born in Balabhadrapuram in East Godavari district but spent most of his younger days in the nearby Pasalapudi village.
When he wrote a series of 72 short stories titled Maa Pasalapudi Kathalu in a popular weekly, a comparison with Malgudi Days was inevitable. While R.K. Narayan created a mythical Malgudi and gave it life through his pen portrayal, Vamsy recreated an existing Pasalapudi and drew life sketches of its nature, people, their love, hatred, likes, dislikes, accent and emotions, taking the reader on a roller-coaster ride of angst and ecstasy.
Vamsy has an inimitable writing style. Though his humour seems a mixture of satire and intelligent comedy, more like a cartoon caricature, he dismisses this by saying that there is no humour in him. “Maybe I have imbibed it in the course of life,” is all that he says. A voracious reader, he agrees that many writers had an influence on him.
Though he refrained from writing political stories, one can find the digs he took in stories like Rajahamsalu Vellipoyayi, where he writes of the tragic life of the boatman who was deprived of his livelihood with the construction of the bridge connecting Yedurlanka and Yanam. Though Vamsy is not against progress, he is concerned about the plight of the man left with no alternative livelihood. In another story, Seetharama Launch Service- Rajahmundry, he expresses anguish at the vanishing of the beautiful Papikondalu.
Critics point to an element of eccentricity in some stories. “I agree that there is eccentricity not only in my writings but in my behaviour too,” he smiles, adding that those stories were based on real happenings.
“I have to portray them as they happened,” he says.
Vamsy started his writing career by reading his short story Sathyasundari Navvindi over All India Radio in 1974. But it was Maa Pasalapudi Kathalu that won him the long overdue recognition. He also bagged two prestigious awards in the process – the Sri Pada Subrahmanya Sastry literary award and the Gurajada Apparao award that he received at Rajahmundry and Vizianagaram respectively. Better known for his films, Vamsy had bagged a couple of Nandi awards , but he cherished the literary awards the most.
Of the half a dozen novels and over 200 short stories that he has written, only one or two of them were made into a movie, including Sitara. “I heard that while penning a story, some writers have either cinema or a TV serial in mind, but I cannot write like that. This could be the reason my writings are not finding their way to films. Sitarawas based on my novel Mahal lo Koyila. I don't think I have done full justice to its film version.” He may sound modest but his debut film was a box office hit. With his earthy narrative style, Vamsy takes us to a world that most urbanites or present day rural youth are unaware of. As you go on reading them, you identify with the characters, sympathise with the under privileged, enjoy the one sided love of the innocent rustic youth even as the human bonding and humane characters pull at your heart. They will remain in your memory for long .So you wonder – is Vamsy more versatile as a story teller or a filmmaker?